The Board of Supervisors and the leadership of Northern Virginia Community College are exploring the possibility of creating a task force to work together on issues such as the school's growth and expansion.
Supervisors met with NVCC President Robert G. Templin Jr. and members of the school's board Oct. 17. Templin requested the meeting, he said, because the school has just completed its 10-year strategic plan and wanted to see if there was "an opportunity for collaboration between Fairfax County government and NVCC."
The supervisors asked college officials to come up with a written proposal of their needs for the county board's Nov. 21 meeting.
Supervisor Sharon S. Bulova (D-Braddock), whose district includes NVCC's main campus in Annandale, said the meeting was the first time she could remember that supervisors had met with both the college's president and its board members.
"It was outstanding," Bulova said. "We decided that we should get together and talk further about the opportunity for partnership between our two organizations. It seems to me that there are a lot of things that we could be doing together that we haven't even thought of yet."
Templin said that members of every graduating high school class in Fairfax County attend NVCC, which has about 63,000 students on six campuses. "More go to Northern Virginia Community College than any other college or university," he said. "We are the community's college."
Each year NVCC and the Board of Supervisors separately draw up a legislative agenda that is presented to lawmakers in Richmond. One issue being explored is whether there are shared legislative interests that could be presented to lawmakers jointly.
"A good example is that we have requested full funding for the medical campus in Springfield," said Templin, "so that we have increased capacity to train more nurses and health care workers. Fairfax County is interested in that because that is an area of the county that I know they are interested in developing. It would be in their interest to help with that."
Templin said the medical campus is operating at about half its capacity and would need about $2.5 million from the state to bring it to full capacity.
Space for new construction in the county is limited both for residential and commercial developers, so Templin is looking at existing structures instead of new buildings to find more classrooms in the county. He said the task force could explore using surplus county schools or administrative buildings.
"The college is growing, the county is growing," said Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D-Mason). "There have been some things we have worked on together before, and this is sort of an outgrowth of the things we have done. There is a good relationship between the county and the college, but it needs to be enhanced."
Bulova, who graduated from NVCC, said that helping the college find more space will benefit children in the county in the long run.
"We are talking about kids in elementary school and middle school and high school," she said. "Some of them might go to a four-year college, but many of them will be trying to get into Northern Virginia Community College. . . . We look at the community college as a great resource. We are extremely fortunate that we have such a wonderful educational opportunity for kids and young people as well as older adults who are coming in for retraining."